In this era of streaming services becoming the norm comes the next big hitter. AT&T is rolling out HBO Max where you can get a taste of a vast variety of movies and television. Showcasing the entertainment companies it owns it gives a balance to Disney Plus.
Is it worth it? I’ve only had it for a day and I preordered so I am in on the 11.99 price tier. For what is being offered it’s still on the high end. Seeing as how you can get Disney Plus for seven bucks and it’s bundle that includes Hulu and ESPN for fifteen bucks there is already an argument for return on investment.
The dashboard is pretty basic and like most other services highlighting what they think will be the biggest draws. Right now it’s touting having the entire Friends series as well as Insecure and the relaunch of Looney Tunes. As you scroll down it gives you a list of what you’ve been watching and what you have put on your view list for later. About three taps down you will get to their category hubs. I found this a bit odd considering what they have to offer as I figured this would be the first thing you would want to explore. Disney + puts theirs at the top so maybe this is just them trying to be different. Now the hubs are broken down into nine companies. DC, Sesame Workshop, TCM, Studio Ghibli, Cartoon Network, Crunchyroll, Adult Swim, HBO, and Looney Tunes.
There are a couple of odd things here to note.
1. The biggest thing here is that the big nostalgia offerings like Friends, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, etc…..are not in any of these hubs. If they did not have their own blurb either at the top or while scrolling down you would not know HBOMax had them to offer.
2. The selection in the hubs is surprisingly limited. I’m guessing it’s because all these hubs have alternative services under their own auspices to give a fuller selection but if that’s the case it begs to wonder why have them here at all unless it’s just to lure you in to be exposed to HBO proper.
Now I’m a comic book/cartoon guy so my immediate focus was on the DC, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, and Looney Tunes hubs. I am not yet entrenched into anime but I was taken aback by how limited Crunchyroll’s offering was. Barely double digit.
But back to my interests lol!
I have the DC Universe App and honestly this whole review could be dedicated to is it worth it to have both apps. It is certainly not UNLESS you really love the DCEU section of movies and even then it’s missing Man of Steel. There are no Nolan Batman movies, no Superman movies, and most series are missing from the CW universe, animated (except for the Superhero Girls show and Teen Titans) , and older stand alone shows. They do offer Supergirl and Steel though…..yeah.
No comics, specials, and other original material that the DC universe app offers.
Adult Swim offers Rick and Morty as well as the Boondocks with the promise of season five in the distant future. It shows Space Ghost Coast to Coast and ATHF……but little else. Only seven offerings in all.
Cartoon Network is similar….focusing a lot on turn of the century stuff so it’s relatively more robust than the other properties that have used the channel to present product.
Looney Tunes is just looney tunes. Old and new….and that’s it.
It’s stunning that a company that owns objectively the entire Warner Brothers animated library has almost no trace of any Hanna Barbera material whatsoever. Like I mentioned before, there are other services that addresses these but it goes back to the question of why even have them here at all?
The hubs are so limited they are unnecessary.
There is also the ongoing confusion between HBO Max, Go, and Now and honestly after going through this app I am genuinely confused as well as to why they all still exist as opposed to folding into one pay app or one offered with a subscription to HBO if you still do cable. The most bang for your buck is with HBO proper on this app with everything else little more than a distraction. I wonder why not go all in and present an app with all the content that AT&T now owns with an original name. Present a better package, a better all in one package than Disney whom while having a great site still peddles off shoots out the rear in sheer redundancy.
This however is not it. The Sesame Street stuff is the only strong hub on its own and even it is disappointingly incomplete. (The Elmo show is a nice take on late night shows though.)
At this time I can’t totally recommend the app if you have access to HBO content elsewhere or already subscribing to sub properties.
Now if you don’t have access to HBO and want a decent sampler of what content WB/AT&T have to offer then its worth a look.